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Child Exploitation

DC attorney, law professor arrested for child sexual exploitation

WASHINGTON - An attorney and adjunct lecturer at the George Washington University Law School was arrested in Washington on Thursday by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Tampa, Fla., and charged with six counts of child sexual exploitation.

Richard Donald Lieberman, 64, of Washington, D.C., was charged by the State of Florida Attorney's Office with two counts of receiving online statements for the purpose of sexual conduct with a child, two counts of using the computer to seduce a child, one count of transmitting harmful material to minors and one count of lewd or lascivious battery.

According to the charges, between Aug. 11 and Aug. 25, 2010, Lieberman used the Internet to sexually entice who he believed to be two different girls under the age of 16 years. In fact, he was engaging in online conversations with two undercover agents in Florida posing as 10 and 13-year-old girls.

Lieberman is accused of sending the "13-year-old girl" an image of a naked man, and of engaging in a sexually explicit conversation with the "10-year-old girl" and sending her website links to images of male and female genitalia.

"All children have an absolute right to grow up free from the fear of sexual exploitation," said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Tampa. "ICE HSI will continue to police cyber space to investigate predators and ensure that they feel the full weight of the law."

Agents and officers with the Maryland State Police, Florida Office of the Attorney General, U.S. Marshal's Service, and ICE HSI Maryland and Virginia offices participated in the arrest. An undercover officer with the Citrus County Sheriff's Office, Fla., participated in the investigation leading to the arrest.

The investigation is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Victoria J. Avalon for Polk County, Fla.